official name of the country: Republic of Poland
official language: Polish
currency: Polish zloty (PLN)
capital city: Warsaw
Major cities: Kraków, Łódź, Wrocław, Poznań, Gdańsk, Szczecin, Bydgoszcz, Lublin, Katowice, Białystok. Time zone: Central European Time (GMT + 1hour / TUC + 1hour), from the end of March to the end of October Daylight Saving Time is in force in Poland.
Religious customs and holidays
1 November: All Saints' Day (day off)
11 November: Independence Day (day off)
29 November: St. Andrew’s Eve (the so-called ‘Andrzejki”)
24 December - 1 January: the "Christmas" break: 24.12 Christmas Eve, 25.12 Christmas Day (day off), 26.12 second day of celebration (day off), 31.12 New Year's Eve, 1.01 New Year's Day (day off) 6 January Epiphany (day off)
8 March: Women's Day
21 March: First day of spring
Easter: Thursday to Monday - a movable holiday between the end of March and the end of April
1 May: Labour Day (day off)
2 May: National Flag Day
3 May: National Day of the Third of May (day off)
Corpus Christi (day off)
Tricity: Gdansk, Gdynia, Sopot
Gdańsk is situated in the north of the country, on the Baltic Sea bay. It is a city with over a thousand years of history, and at the same time it is the most important seaport and the capital of the Pomeranian Province. Together with Sopot and Gdynia it forms the metropolitan area known as the Tricity. The population of the City of Gdansk alone is 461,489 people, while the entire urban area posts over one and a half million people.
Some of the most important facts:
- in 1980, the Independent Trade Union Solidarity was born in the Gdansk shipyard, whose activities contributed to the overthrow of communism in Poland in 1989. The Solidarity also sparked a series of momentous protests that played an important role in the collapse of the communist regime in the former USSR
- historic church - St Mary's Roman Catholic Basilica in Gdańsk - is now the second largest brick church in the world
St Dominic's Fair, which dates back to 1260, takes place in Gdańsk every summer. This fair is considered one of the largest commercial and cultural events in Europe
Thanks to the surrounding hills and its coastal location, the climate and weather in Gdansk are very diverse. In summer, the sea breeze reduces the feeling of heat, while in winter the influence of the sea softens the perceived temperature drop. February tends to be the coldest month in Gdansk (average -3°C, but -15°C is not uncommon either), and July and August are the warmest (between +18°C and 30°C). Typically, in winter the Tricity provides excellent skiing conditions and summer is a mixture of heat and occasional rainfall.
Gdynia is a very young city. Although it has medieval monuments (by way of illustration the 13th century church of St. Michael the Archangel in Oksywie, the oldest building in Gdynia, and the 17th-century Gothic-revival manor house in ulica Folwarczna in Orłowo), it was awarded with the city charter in 1926, and all urban architecture is 20th-century, with modernism, early functionalism and maritime motifs dominating (the PLO building in ulica 10 Lutego is a good example of modernism).
The surrounding hills and coastline attract many nature lovers. The pier in Orłowo and the cliff coast on Kępa Redłowska, as well as the surrounding Nature Reserve, are also popular tourist destinations. Two museum ships are moored in the harbour: the destroyer ORP Błyskawica and the sailing frigate Dar Pomorza. A 1.5 km long promenade leads from the harbour in the city centre to the beach in Redłowo.
Gdynia hosts the annual Gdynia Film Festival, considered the most important film festival in Poland. Also, the International Random Film Festival in 2014 was held in Gdynia. Since 2003, every summer Gdynia has been hosting the world famous Open'erFestival, currently one of the biggest music festivals in Europe, hosting world famous hip-hop, rock and electro musicians.
Sopot is an important spa and tourist centre. It has the longest wooden pier in Europe, measuring 515.5 metres, running into the Gdansk Bay. The city is also famous for the Sopot International Song Festival, the biggest event of its kind in Europe after the Eurovision Song Contest. Other attractions include the bromide spring water fountain, known as the "inhalation mushroom".
Sightseeing in Sopot:
Ulica Bohaterów Monte Cassino (known as the Monciak), the main city promenade, full of restaurants, cafes, clubs and shops
Molo w Sopocie, the longest wooden pier in Europe, 450 metres from the shore, 650 metres long
Lighthouse in Sopot
Grodzisko, reconstructed early medieval Slavic stronghold
Museum in Sopot
Church of the Saviour
Church of St. George and wayside shrine of St. Adalbert
Old mansions and villas, including the 18th-century Sierakowski Manor and Spanish Manor, and the early 20th-century Sopot Belvedere (Sopot Belvedere), the place where Polish presidents and prime ministers stayed during their visits to Sopot
historical Sopot Southern Baths
Sopot Hipodrome in Karlikowo district
Krzywy Domek by Monciak
Spa House with adjacent garden and State Art Gallery